Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather Pilot Project


In March, 2018, the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) received an applied research grant of $110,000 from the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) to design a nature-based (i.e. including engineered and natural habitat components) shoreline protection feature to enhance the resilience to extreme weather of a portion of Laguna Shores Road. Laguna Shores Road, which runs along the western shoreline of the Laguna Madre between SH 358 and the Barney M. Davis Energy Center, is a major north-south thoroughfare in the Flour Bluff neighborhood of Corpus Christi. Laguna Shores Road may eventually provide an alternative for connectivity to Segment A of the seven-segment Regional Parkway Mobility Corridor (Regional Parkway), for which a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study was completed in 2016.

Under existing conditions, several locations along Laguna Shores Road are subject to periodic inundation under spring tide and other typical (non-storm) conditions, which has direct negative impacts on project lifecycle, maintenance costs, and public safety. These locations are particularly susceptible to the impacts of storm surge and extreme weather events, and this vulnerability will increase in the face of sea level rise. The City of Corpus Christi (City) in currently initiating design phase of a project to rebuild three separate portions of Laguna Shores Road as part of its 2018 Bond program. The shoreline protection feature will be constructed as part of the roadway reconstruction project.

The southern end of Segment 1 of the reconstruction project (outlined in red on Exhibit A – Project Location Map, see below) is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather. At this location, there is no habitat buffer between the roadway and the open water of the Laguna Madre; the toe of the slope on the eastern side of the roadway is literally in the intertidal zone.

This pilot will be a collaborative effort, wherein staff at the MPO will manage an interdisciplinary team of specialized experts from the academic, environmental non-profit, municipal, and private sectors to:

  • Assess baseline habitat and shoreline conditions

  • Identify one or more innovative shoreline protection strategies that integrate engineering and ecological (habitat restoration/living shoreline) techniques

  • Construct a pilot shoreline protection project as part of the roadway reconstruction project

  • Monitor project effectiveness in terms of habitat development and shoreline condition to evaluate the utility of the pilot technique(s) to enhance the durability of other segments of Laguna Shores Road and other, similarly vulnerable transportation infrastructure

Project Location Map

Exhibit A

Project location map - Laguna Shores Road. Southern end of Segment 1.

Image of Laguna Shores Road Segment

Laguna Shores Road

Non-Storm Condition - Southern end of Segment 1.


Robert MacDonald, MPA, P.E.
Transportation Planning Director
Phone: 361.884.0687 x105


Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather Pilot Project Schedule

This pilot program is sponsored by the FHWA Office of Planning, Environment and Realty, in cooperation with the FHWA Office of Infrastructure.

Natural disasters have become increasingly damaging and problematic to transportation systems in many locations within the United States, affecting the performance of the trans-portation network and straining state and Federal funding for repair and maintenance. Addressing this critical issue is included in the U.S. Department of Transportation Draft Strategic Plan for FY 2018-2022*, which includes development of new tools to improve transportation infrastructure durability and resilience as a priority innovation area. It also states that infrastructure should be made resilient and durable to withstand extreme weather events. This pilot program will assist U.S. DOT and FHWA in achieving these strategic objectives, reducing future maintenance costs over the full life-cycle of transportation assets.

*U.S. DOT, 2017.